Three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Sidney McCauley homer helped lift Walla Walla High School's varsity fastpitch softball team to the postseason District 8 Championship title Friday, May 19, as the Blue Devils rallied to top Mount Spokane in a 4-2 thriller at Murr Sports Park across from the Wa-Hi campus.
Having already assured themselves a spot at state with their semifinal win last week, the Blue Devils (8-14 record) captured the top seed out of District 8.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A Championship Tournament happens this week, May 25-27, in Lacey, Washington, at the Regional Athletic Complex.
"We couldn't be happier for these players," Blue Devils coach Arch McHie said. "There were times when it was hard to see this outcome but through it all, we never gave up. Now they are the 2023 district champions.
"The seedings for state will be out Monday and we will know when and who we play. The brackets will be posted at WIAA. Our plan is to head to Lacey on Wednesday where we will take batting practice at Saint Martin's and then head to the RAC to practice on the turf before starting play on Thursday."
The Blue Devils, who had started with season with six straight losses and found themselves 1-11 with the regular season down to its final two weeks, will go to state on the heels of their exciting victory for the district title.
"What a fun day at Murr Sports Park," McHie said. "The atmosphere was electric with so many people there cheering us on.
"There weren't many hits by either team today, but we had them when it counted the most. The big hit came in the sixth when Sidney hit a huge three-run home run.
"Along with the big hit, Sid had a great day defensively. She started the game-ending double play to seal the victory."
A run in the second inning put Mount Spokane up 2-1, but the Blue Devils were far from done.
Blue Devils pitcher Zoe Hardy, who also was integral in their first inning run and wound up giving them two of their five hits on the day, turned in a dominating performance with her right arm.
"Her 11 strikeouts kept Mount Spokane in check and came through when we needed a big out," McHie said. "Lauryn (Bergevin) and Clarabelle (Hall) had some clutch defensive plays that ended Mount Spokane threats."
The Blue Devils then treated their fans to an exciting finish, like they already had this season.
"The energy was up, and we never felt like we were out of the game," McHie said. "Hayleigh Burke came in to run and read the situation perfectly with a big stolen base.
"It's those little things and attention to the details that have really impressed the coaches over the last five games."
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